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Edinburgh Zoo armadillo dwarfed by lantern counterpart

Inti was taken to see intricate handmade scuplture by her keeper Amy Smith.

Inti: Armadillo meets sculpture along with keeper Amy Smith.
Inti: Armadillo meets sculpture along with keeper Amy Smith. RZSS Edinburgh Zoo

A southern three-banded armadillo has been introduced to its enormous lantern counterpart at Edinburgh Zoo.

Inti the armadillo was brought to see the intricate handmade sculpture by her keeper, Amy Smith, on Tuesday.

The lantern was tested by a team of craftspeople ahead of a special winter event to be held at the zoo.

Armadillo: Three-banded species can curl into a ball.
Armadillo: Three-banded species can curl into a ball. RZSS Edinburgh Zoo

Born at the zoo in April last year, Inti belongs to a species of armadillo from South America whose characteristic three bands on their backs enable them to curl completely into a ball.

They are among the smaller species of armadillo and though baby Inti may grow to be bigger, she was dwarfed by her new friend.

The sculpture will feature in a showcase at the zoo, called The Giant Lanterns of China, of 450 giant lanterns constructed by specialist artisans from the Sichuan Province in China to create 34 installations.

Lantern: One of 450 Chinese sculptures to be showcased at zoo.
Lantern: One of 450 Chinese sculptures to be showcased at zoo. RZSS Edinburgh Zoo

Starting on December 1, the event will run for 50 nights and promises to transform the zoo into a "magical light spectacle".

Barbara Smith, chief executive at RZSS Edinburgh Zoo, said: "These impressive sculptures will not only transform the zoo this winter but showcase our important conservation work by shining a new light on the animals we support."

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